Treatment of 41 morbidly obese patients with a 3.34 mega joule diet has been compared with the same dietary regime together with an intragastric balloon. After eight weeks of closely supervised dietary regime a free floating silicone intragastric balloon with a capacity of 500 ml was inserted and the patient advised to adhere to the same diet for a further eight weeks. Thirty four patients completed the study. Forty eight per cent lost weight during the period compared with 97% during balloon treatment. The mean weight loss with diet alone was 1.9 (3) kg compared with 7.5 (4.1) kg with the balloon (p less than 0.001). Apart from postinsertion vomiting, which resolved by 72 hours, there were no gastric complications associated with the balloon. This study indicates that, in the short term at least, the intragastric balloon can improve on weight loss achieved by diet alone.
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